Wednesday, 24 May 2006
Dáil Eireann Debate
244. Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the additional funding spent in the targeted areas of disadvantage in the State under the RAPID programme on projects not outlined in the national development plan by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19923/06]
Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Éamon Ó Cuív): My Department, with the support of Pobal, has overall responsibility for the co-ordination of the RAPID programme. It is a matter for each Department to report on progress of RAPID projects that fall to them to implement.
As I have set out in this House previously, the RAPID programme is not something that is additional to the NDP. What the programme seeks to achieve is the prioritisation of action in the 45 designated areas. The idea is that RAPID areas are considered for investment before non-RAPID areas and therefore favoured by prioritising and concentrating investment.
The RAPID programme fulfils the commitment given under Framework III of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness to tackle the spatial concentration of disadvantage in the 25 most deprived communities in the State. The original list of 25 urban areas was later expanded to include an additional 20 provincial urban centres.
The Deputy will also be aware that the National Development Plan (NDP) is an economic programme that sets out the Government’s broad strategic response to the State’s economic and social development needs for the seven-year period ending December 2006.
The NDP does not set out specific project commitments. The RAPID programme is not mentioned in the NDP. Accordingly, all spending on the RAPID Programme, details of which I have given to the House — in particular my reply to question number 59 on 21 March 2006 — comes within the category sought by the Deputy.
In overall terms, at this stage, commitments of €349.6m have been entered into by Departments and reported to POBAL. These commitments are by Departments to projects proposed by individual RAPID Area Implementation Teams. In addition, some €32m has been committed to RAPID areas under the Dormant Account Fund.
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